Sheets of rain poured down for almost the entire show Friday night, but Atmosphere didn’t miss a turntable beat as they brought the Family Vacation Tour to a sold-out Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The crowd didn’t seem the slightest deterred by the downpour, cheering raucously and many of them singing along with nearly every word that front-man Slug delivered.
And while, Slug (Sean Daley) certainly brought the noise and spit his rhymes with masterful flow, dropping ad-libbed references to the rain and Colorado at will, the show did drag on and seem uneven in some moments.
It took Atmosphere over three hours to finally take the stage, after openers Prof, Blueprint, Evidence (of Dilated Peoples) and new Rhymesayers phenom Grieves all gave heart-felt, but at times somewhat adequate, performances.
While the audience largely ate up the entire show, the crowd also skewed incredibly young, as apparently hoards of 15-year-old girls really, really love Atmosphere.
And for good reason —- the indie once-underground hip-hop outfit from Minneapolis has been producing some excellent, quirky and introspective jams for almost 15 years now. Slug and DJ/producer Ant have certainly earned their status as indie hip-hop legends. But it was a bit strange to see so many screaming high school girls rap along with every line the now-approaching-40-years-old Slug spat —- even from tracks off the early catalogue.
Having said that, Atmosphere did not disappoint fans who were hoping to hear a mix of the new and the old. Slug busted out early favorites like “Guns and Cigarettes” and “Between the Lines” from the “Lucy Ford” era as well as newer numbers like “Shoulda Known” and “Just for Show.”
Highlights from the set included “Modern Man’s Hustle” from 2003’s “God Loves Ugly” and the poignant “God’s Bathroom Floor” from “Sad Clown Bad Dub 7.”
Paul Smith is a Denver Post Online intern and a new contributor to Reverb.